Thursday, 20 August 2009

We are accused of spreading “misinformation”

WalesOnline - News - Cardiff News - Bute Park protesters in ...

20 Aug 2009 ... CAMPAIGNERS against the building of a road into Bute Park have been...

Bute Park protesters in ‘misinformation’ fury

CAMPAIGNERS against the building of a road into Bute Park have been accused of spreading “misinformation” in leaked emails written by council members to the judges of a top environmental award.

Last month, the city centre park retained its Green Flag despite the furore over the building of a bridge and access road into the park.

Correspondence disclosed to campaigner Anne Greagsby under the Freedom of Information Act shows that when an unidentified judge expressed concern about the possibility of a demonstration by members of the Bute Parks Alliance pressure group during their visit, an unnamed Cardiff Council officer accused the group of putting out “misinformation”.

The correspondence also shows that the council entertained the judges to lunch at Cardiff Castle.

Professor Kevin Morgan, chair of the campaign group Bute Parks Alliance said: “The nature of this correspondence clearly illustrates the deeply flawed nature of the Green Flag judging process.

“The public believes that an award of this kind is given independently – but the interaction between the judges and Cardiff Council reveals that this is definitely not the case.

“Furthermore, the judges did not even bother to find out why there is so much public opposition to the council’s development plans for Bute Park.

“Work is now under way on the new lorry access bridge, creating a huge scar in what was once a lush and green woodland belt.

“If the proposed 20 foot-wide road into Cooper’s Field, lorry turning circle, and nursery development are carried out, a significant area of the park will be unrecognisable.

“But how much of this was revealed to the judges? And how many probing questions did they ask?

“Both the council and the judges lack moral integrity in their attitude to the Green Flag, rendering it meaningless.”

Paul Todd, manager of the Green Flag Award Scheme, which is run by a partnership that includes Keep Britain Tidy, BTCV and GreenSpace, said: “Our judges are trained to a very high standard to assess sites and decide whether they merit an award or not.

“In this case they were made aware of the concerns that had been expressed about Bute Park by members of the public. When making their decision, they took all factors into consideration and made a judgment.”

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